Solar forcing of the polar atmosphere

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We present highly resolved, annually dated, calibrated proxies for atmospheric circulation from several Antarctic ice cores (ITASE (International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition), Siple Dome, Law Dome) that reveal decadal-scale associations with a South Pole ice-core 10Be proxy for solar variability over the last 600 years and annual-scale associations with solar variability since AD 1720. We show that increased (decreased) solar irradiance is associated with increased (decreased) zonal wind strength near the edge of the Antarctic polar vortex. The association is particularly strong in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and as such may contribute to understanding climate forcing that controls drought in Australia and other Southern Hemisphere climate events. We also include evidence suggestive of solar forcing of atmospheric circulation near the edge of the Arctic polar vortex based on ice-core records from Mount Logan, Yukon Territory, Canada, and both central and south Greenland as enticement for future investigations. Our identification of solar forcing of the polar atmosphere and its impact on lower latitudes offers a mechanism for better understanding modern climate variability and potentially the initiation of abrupt climate-change events that operate on decadal and faster scales.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2005

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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